Thank you. Not just your time, but your thoughts and your work.
My head will be spinning for a few days, [laughs] at least, after this conversation. I appreciate it.
I do want to invite my colleagues if you had any other things, or you had any questions for us, too.
That’s nice. I don’t have a blog post. I have a book.
Yes. Then, because I’ve been immersed in this for eight years, I think about play. Play is a place where you build trust. If you’re playing with somebody, that’s how you build relationships.
I think that we’re stuck because of this lack of trust. Sitting with this problem, what would you…Do you have any suggestions about it?
As I said, I’ve never met a six-year-old who doesn’t want to learn how to read, or is curious about math. Even a high schooler who is a little disenfranchised is interested in something. It may not be the curriculum in front of them. It could be calculus, cars, or ...
Our national education doesn’t trust the states. Then, the state level doesn’t trust the district level. The district levels don’t trust their principals. The principals don’t trust their teachers, and no one trusts the kids. What I mean by trust the kids is that there’s no fundamental faith that kids ...
The biggest problem, as you were talking about this, I was struck by a radical faith in other people that is completely absent from the US educational system.
No. Can I describe a problem in the US context, and have you think together what…?
You’ve already told me that you don’t solve problems.
I appreciate that.
Exactly. I left yesterday’s workshop feeling a little bit more optimistic about the world.
That helps guide a group of educators into thinking what are our values and goals, but not that we have to fit into this already-established model.
It spoke as a possibility of having it being more authentic. It wasn’t like, “We’ll tinker a little bit. We’ll change a few words here and there to make it fit for us.” No. We’re starting from the bottom-up and creating our own. It’s the only idea that I think ...
I’m the least familiar in the room with the Taiwanese context. From what I know, this speaks to this moment in history very specifically. I also was very happy to see that the other four indicators have a similar aesthetic as. This is very different. It made me quite happy ...
To answer your question, those indicators to me are so radically democratic. To talk about being brave, courageous, not accepting this answer, it’s…
My knowledge is…Or do you want to answer it because you know it better than I?
That’s very nice. Is there anything that we’re not asking you that we should in terms of…You know what we’re trying to do? Is there anything that I should be asking you at this moment?
Yes, by the way, congratulations.
This is your…?
People seemed yesterday…Well, we gave an answer, but it seems like people are stuck there. There’s the grades we have to…As a parent, it’s my job to prepare my child to make sure that they do well. That means doing well on the test, so they can have, in their ...
Something that people asked yesterday at our workshop was about grades. This is now, I’m kind of referring. Can you imagine an educational system without grades? How would you help a country move in that direction?
Which moves to my second question, which is how did you get this way? [laughs] I don’t know of you. Thinking about childhood experiences with your family, your parents, with friends, do you have a narrative about yourself of how you were able to get to this point where I ...
I don’t know. I almost drove off the road when I was in the car. I think that idea of being in a playful mindset inoculating you against the non-fun that we experience a lot is a lovely idea.
When I heard you say fast, fair, and fun in that interview, I was like, “It was so distant, though, from the experience in the United States at that moment that it was like…”
To me and some colleagues, we’ve talked about then playful politics. I wonder if that term resonates with you in any way.
He talks of fear. To me, I didn’t read it about play, but he talked about play as a place of…There’s this line about people being stuck in certain problems. He writes, “When did we forget that we were playing?”
I love that book.
In his last book that he did with David Wengrow, “The Dawn of Everything…”
…with ideas, and iterate, and innovate. It makes me think, have you familiar with the anthropologist and anarchist, David Graeber?
What I’m hearing, I love the term inclusive playground. It’s like you’re setting up a space for other people to be able to play…
The first question is about thinking about your work either as a coder or in government, or in both. How do you go about identifying a problem, and then trying to solve it?
Yes? Did you want to say anything?
Part of the case that we make out, “These are adults. This is how they think. They think playfully and outside of the box. That’s what kids should be doing in school to prepare them for this.”
Part of our rhetoric is to have examples of adults saying, “Hey, these are the types of citizens we want. We need to cultivate this in schools.” That’s what brought us to you.
We think that adults should keep asking, “What if…?” opening up spaces and exploring together, trying to figure out problems. Having heard the National Public Radio interview of you in October 2020, I thought, “This is a person who’s asking, what if.”
One of the arguments we make is that in play they ask, “What if…?” Little kids pretend that this could be an airplane or a rocket ship or that they’re…
Our project tries to answer three big questions. How can you do this? What does playful learning look and feel like in different cultural contexts, because it looks different in different places based on values and goals? Also, why do you need a pedagogy of play?
Yvonne can do that. Do you want to talk a little bit about what you guys have been doing here?
We’ve worked in Denmark and South Africa and US and Colombia, and now we’ve done some research in Taiwan with the humanistic education foundation.
We’re researchers at Project Zero, which is a research group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. We work on a project called Pedagogy of Play, which aims to make Broadway education more humanistic and democratic by having more agency for students and exploratory studies and makes school more joy, ...